NAB Reflections: Scale Logic’s Bob Herzan on Proactive Monitoring for Storage, Sports’ Sophisticated Needs

HMS tracks ‘health’ of Genesis storage products installed at customer sites

Scale Logic was at NAB 2018 showcasing its portfolio of storage solutions and introduced a new feature across the entire range of products: a proactive Health Monitoring Service (HMS). The service communicates directly with installed products at customer sites, using the equipment serial number to track service outages, system temperature, power-supply failure, data-storage drive failure, and dozens of other mission-critical status updates.

SVG sat down with Scale Logic President/CEO Bob Herzan to discuss HMS, the company’s recent installation with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Linx, Scale Logic’s growing third-party warranty service, and more.

Scale Logic’s Bob Herzan: “We have a heartbeat built into the [Genesis platform] that reports back to our NOC.”

What is the big news at the show this year for Scale Logic?
I think the coolest announcement is that we have introduced 24/7 proactive health monitoring to the entire Genesis platform. That means, when we install these at our customer site, we have a heartbeat built into the system that reports back to our NOC [Network Operations Center]. It is reporting all the basic health symptoms within the system, so it’s looking at the drives, the rate sets, the motherboards and heat level, the fan efficiency. This is an enterprise-level feature that this industry has never seen in this level of storage, unless you were buying on the level of IBM or EMC and paying through the nose. And we don’t even upcharge for the service.

We have the NOC already in place for all the other services that we’re doing for our [Media Storage Services] third-party extended-warranty program. We’re just taking that and implementing a new proactive health platform.

All new shipping products will now have the health monitoring, and then we’re going to go back and start adding it to our legacy support contracts. To me, it’s a genuine game-changer for our customers

We have also introduced HyperLock [at NAB 2018]. HyperLock is a feature set that goes on top of our HyperFS [file system], Genesis NX [NAS solution], and Genesis ZX [software-defined storage] and provides Avid bin locking for all three platforms. Those people looking for traditional Avid workflow can now do that on top of any one of those three file systems.

Scale Logic recently completed a large installation with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Linx. Tell us something about the project.
This type of configuration has become a real sweet spot for us. [The Timberwolves and Linx] are using a multi-tiered configuration that starts with Genesis Unlimited, which is our high-performance, high-capacity storage. It’s connected in two ways — via Fibre Channel and Gigabit Ethernet — so that they can have multiple workflows with that shared storage. We also have an agent inside the Genesis Unlimited that will sync the primary data over to our second tier, which is Genesis NX. That’s a second instance of the data on spinning disk that they keep as an archive copy. And that same agent inside the Unlimited also can write to a tape library, which they have there.

In the end, this client has three copies of their data across two different technologies, and they can even take some of it offsite if they want to store it elsewhere. It’s a very small footprint that gives them a completely automated workflow that protects the data and is scalable as they grow. They’re already talking about upgrading more storage because they’re starting to go back and digitize a whole bunch of old legacy, historical content now.

How does the T-Wolves and Linx installation reflect where the sports market is headed in terms of storage?
All of the [teams] have the same issues, and they’re all struggling with the same types of workflows. [Large organizations like] MLB and NASCAR can spend the money for big, multi-tier infrastructure like that with high availability. But we are giving them that same footprint and doing it at a price point that is a fraction of the cost, depending on the size, of the primary storage that they’re putting in. We also try [to integrate] with as many MAM players as we can so that we can show our customer and the resellers a very completed turnkey solution that includes that asset-management layer as well.

In addition to the Scale Logic product portfolio, you’ve put a major focus on your Media Storage Services third-party extended-warranty business over the past couple of years. How is that segment of the company doing, and how has the market reacted to it?
It’s growing hand over fist right now, and we’ve been very successful in mid and high-end accounts. I think one of the trends that I’m seeing right now is the mid to larger companies are unsure of what the next few years have in store for them. They’re trying to figure out what their cloud play is and if they’re going to be migrating a lot of content to the cloud or not. At the same time, they’re being bullied to either refresh or pay heavy fees for the support [of existing equipment]. And they feel each decision is rotten because either they are going to spend a whole bunch on opex and keep this thing alive or they are going to refresh and be stuck for the next three to five years anyway. We are saving them from having to make those decisions right away; we give them a chance to breathe a little bit. We customize this SLA for them and save them a ton of money, and now they can really start to focus in on what they think they can do.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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